DIGGERS are in full swing removing the equivalent of six Olympic swimming pools of stinking, black silt from the bed of Brooklands Lake as work to restore the landmark steps up a pace.

The lake in the park on Worthing seafront was drained earlier this year due to a buildup of silt that was having an impact on the environment and damaging local wildlife.

Expert workers are now scraping out the piles of silt and debris built up over decades, and ingeniously using it to build banks and an additional island to create a new landscape without reducing the footprint of the lake.

Jacob Dew, operations manager of Five Rivers Environmental Contracting, said: “We’re making good progress.

“It’s wet and it’s dirty but we are used to that.

“There’s been a great response from people who have been asking all kinds of questions including what have we found in there.

“At the moment we’ve found nothing of value but we’ll let you know if we do!”

Work began on the site in October after Worthing Borough Council appointed Five Rivers to carry out the work.

With the heavy lifting now underway, executive members and ward councillors were give a tour of the site earlier this week.

They discovered this is not a regular building site as the ground conditions can change every day – but the weather is no obstacle to the experienced staff of Five Rivers.

Site manager Ben Sharp said: “We work through the rain. As we are wet and muddy anyway, we just crack on.”

Five Rivers has been busy staking chestnut poles into the ground and using geotextiles (permeable fabrics with a 100-year lifespan) to extend the banks around the lake.

Giant diggers have been scooping silt into position and it’s already possible to see how the new lake bed will take shape.

The firm has also made progress clearing the island that was once used for storage.

This will be planted with native trees such as hazel, beech and hawthorn to encourage biodiversity and birds like kingfishers and sand martins back to the lake.

Five Rivers has made great progress on the renovation of the lake and this is just the beginning.